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Judge orders release of sealed documents in Bryant rape case

Hearing records to be made public after they're edited

DENVER -- Dozens of previously sealed court filings and transcripts of closed-door hearings in the Kobe Bryant rape case will soon be released to the public after certain information is edited out.

District Judge W. Terry Ruckriegle said yesterday he agreed with lawyers representing media companies that there was no reason to keep the material sealed since prosecutors dropped the charges in September after the 20-year-old woman was no longer willing to participate in a trial.

No timeline was given for releasing the material, which will include documents regarding DNA testing, Bryant's statements to investigators, various arguments about evidence and expert witnesses, and transcripts from hearings on defense efforts to have certain evidence thrown out.

The judge said keeping court filings sealed made no sense, because Bryant's statements to investigators have been leaked to the media and hundreds of pages of case files have been released by the sheriff and prosecutors.

"Further, as noted by the news media, there remains a public as well as an academic interest in what occurred in this case, as many of the issues have not been addressed in any reported decisions," Ruckriegle said.

Some details will be edited out, including the woman's name, information regarding her sex life that was ruled irrelevant to the case, and medical information.

Lawyers for Bryant and the alleged victim did not immediately return calls. Bryant's lawyers told Ruckriegle they would not object to the release as long as both sides were treated fairly.

The Los Angeles Lakers star has said that he and his accuser, an employee of a Vail-area resort, had consensual sex.

Lawyers for the woman had asked the judge to keep records sealed if they addressed sexual activities that were ruled inadmissible, any alleged substance abuse or mental health history, and other details that had been ruled inadmissible.

The woman is suing Bryant in federal court, seeking unspecified damages.

The woman's name is part of the public record in the civil case, but the Globe does not publish the name of victims of alleged sexual assaults unless they have given their explicit consent to do so.

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